Pentecostal stories: Fiction and essays

Anthony Neil Smith

Abstract

In the short fiction of this collection, I examine a community of holiness Pentecostals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, with special emphasis on the struggles involved with adhering to a religious lifestyle requiring "separation from the world" in contemporary American culture. In the personal essays, I relate how I came to join the Pentecostal faith, as well as the events leading to my leaving the organization and eventually its faith system. I do this with a great affection for the believers--friends with whom I've unfortunately lost touch--while feeling somewhat resentful of the power structure of the organization. Hopefully, one will not see judgement in these portraits, but rather the beautiful yet conflicted nature of those who desire an intimate relationship with God while dealing with the same day to day stresses and problems as ordinary people.